Going off the grid means saying goodbye to some of the luxuries of regular life. Fortunately, a cleansing, warm shower doesn’t have to be one of them.
From solar power to propane-heated solutions, there are plenty of off grid shower ideas to get you through daily life off the grid.
In this guide, we’ve compiled 11 popular off grid shower ideas that will suit all kinds of setups.
Let’s dive right in!
1. Bucket Shower
The classic bucket shower takes the top spot with its simple setup—all you need is a bucket or a water barrel.
Just place the bucket of water on a flat surface and attach a water hose or shower head to it. The setup is connected to a tap so users can easily control the flow of water.
This simple setup is also known as a navy shower. It is the best solution if there is no access to running water as it saves a lot of precious water.
Of course, you will need to manually add water to the bucket or barrel each time you wish to take a shower. If this will be a hassle for your off grid shower setup, we suggest looking for a more sophisticated solution.
Here are the items you will need to build a bucket shower setup:
You can learn how to build your own off-grid water system for emergencies with our comprehensive guide.
2. Gravity-Fed Solar Shower
This is another basic design and affordable off grid shower solution that works in the absence of electricity.
The setup involves hanging a solar shower bag from an overhead branch. The positioning of the shower bag allows gravity to pull the water down, eliminating the need for a pump.
The water in the bag also soaks up daylight—a direct application of solar energy—so it heats up quite a bit, allowing you to enjoy a delicious shower no matter where you are.
You can also build a similar setup using a gallon bucket and some PVC materials. However, this requires quite a bit of DIY experience and a day or two to complete the work.
One drawback of this simple solar shower is it needs a good amount of sunlight to heat the water. It isn’t practical for regions with cold or very wet climates.
You can buy a solar shower bag from Amazon or build the setup using these parts:
3. Portable Tankless Hot Water Heater
If you have a reliable water supply and don’t want to invest too much into your off grid shower project, go for a tankless portable water heater. These are ideal for RV camping, outdoor trips, off grid showers, and even washing pets.
One advantage of this setup is its low flow rate, so you don’t have to worry about wasting water. It is incredibly lightweight and fits into compact spaces.
Since the structure lacks a tank, you don’t have to worry about rust or damage. This off grid shower setup will surely last a lifetime of camping trips.
You can purchase this tankless water heater from Amazon.
4. Pressurized Off Grid Showers
Pressurized showers work using a pressure-creating mechanism, such as a foot pump, portable tire inflator, water hose, or even by hand.
You can also create one yourself using a new standard weed sprayer. The setup requires a shower hose, low flow shower nozzle, shower wand, and a valve.
The best part about using a pressurized system is you can access more water without having to leave the shower.
Buy this pressurized portable one with a pump from REI.com or a portable tire inflator from Amazon.
If you choose to DIY, then here are the items you’ll need for this off grid shower system:
- Standard weed/clean garden pump sprayer
- Shower attachment
5. Water Pump Showers
Water pumps are another simple solution if you have access to water but can’t invest in a more permanent setup.
Water pump showers are simple and compact devices that feature a handheld shower. You just need to drop the submersible pump into a water barrel or bucket and enjoy a steady stream of water for your off grid shower.
They are battery-powered and rechargeable, so you can rely on them even during remote camping trips.
You can buy one from Amazon.
6. Pop up Tent Off Grid Shower
Pop-up tents are easy to set up and take down. They are the perfect outdoor shower option for complete privacy, especially if you’re camping in relatively accessible areas.
These setups are equipped with well-ventilated utility rooms that you can use as a shower room, toilet, changing room, and more. They also have holding racks that make storing items, clothes, and shower bags convenient.
They drain water using mesh panels. We love how quickly these road shower setups pack up and how little space they occupy in the back of a van or camper. They are very light, so you can easily carry them with your other camping gear.
Buy one of these freestanding pop-up units from REI.com.
7. Rack-Mounted Showers
A rack-mounted shower is an off grid shower solution that delivers a pressurized stream of water. It can be affixed to any overhead rack and absorb the sunlight throughout the day. You can also use it for a quick shower or other washing needs at your campsite.
The setup is simple—just install the shower on a sturdy rack and fill it with water with a pressurized garden hose. The only drawback is that it will not provide lukewarm water in winter months or in wet and cold regions.
Buy one from REI.com.
8. Garden Hose
A garden hose is an incredibly simple off grid shower option, especially if you live in a region that gets plenty of sunlight during the day.
The setup involves a long garden hose that you can lay out in the sun to allow the heat to warm up the water. A 100-foot garden hose can hold enough water for one person’s showering needs.
You can buy one from Amazon.
It is not an ideal camp shower solution during winters or when your off-grid trip takes you to colder regions. If you’re about to face harsh weather, you may benefit from reading more about such regions in our cold climate survival guides.
9. Propane Heated Showers
The beauty of a propane-heated shower is the endless supply of heated water regardless of the weather. The only thing you need is a reliable water source.
They come in various styles, with a metal tank or built-in propane burner to heat the water. The pressurized system uses built-in pumps or batteries to power an adequate shower.
A one-pound propane cylinder with four D batteries can deliver around 60 gallons of water. You can determine the best capacity that will suit your family or group.
You can buy a propane-heated shower from Amazon.
10. Portable Camping Showers
The NEMO Helio pressure shower has a black tank you can set under the sun to heat water for your shower. It also has a long hose so you can keep the water tank on the ground and take a hot shower without any discomfort.
The great thing about this portable shower is that it is easy to carry everywhere, and it does not require a rack or tree for mounting. The device uses a foot pump that provides 7 to 10 minutes of steady spray with a single pump.
You don’t need a hose to fill the tank or settle for a cold shower!
Purchase this basic pressure shower setup from REI.com, or check out this one with a tank from REI.com. It features a built-in heating system that heats cold water within 15 to 45 minutes.
It has an LED dashboard that tells you when the water temperature is ready for use and a sensor that indicates when the hot water level is too low.
The portable shower allows users to adjust the water pressure. It also comes with a multipurpose scrubbing sponge for all your cleaning needs.
11. Cowboy Bath
The cowboy bath is excellent for off-grid camping adventure enthusiasts and useful in outdoor emergencies. It is a last resort if you don’t have power and can’t take an outdoor shower due to campsite issues.
The setup involves heating water on the camp stove and pouring it over yourself in a claw foot bathtub or even while you’re just standing—that’s it!
Wrapping up 11 Off Grid Shower Ideas
This concludes our list of simple and sensible off grid shower ideas. We hope this has helped you figure out the most practical, convenient, and easy-to-install types of shower solution for your off-grid situation.
If you’re looking for more help with off grid plumbing, check out 6 Off-Grid Toilet Options for Survivalists.